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This Greenlight teen used his savings to publish a book series about overcoming your fears

Writers move and shape our world, and we know a Greenlight teen who is making a big impact with his wordsmithing wisdom. Stephen M. is a 13-year-old who wrote a book, runs a side hustle and is saving his money to publish an entire series. Writers and dreamers — this one’s for you!

Meet Stephen 

Stephen is a writer, artist, musician, athlete and entrepreneur. WOW! He’s been playing baseball since he was little, coached by a special someone — his dad. Recently, he moved all the way from Florida to Alaska. (Talk about a big move!) And at 13 years old, he decided to publish a book.

Ever since he could talk, Stephen has had a stutter. While 5-10% of children have a stutter at some point, about 3 out of 4 children outgrow it. Stephen did not outgrow his stutter, but he did outgrow his fears. So, he turned to his pen and paper to weave together a story made to inspire and educate the world on speech fluency disorders and disabilities.

How Stephen got started

Growing up, Stephen faced challenges with his stutter. He took the time to learn about it and he discovered that our differences are what make us unique and special.

In true writer fashion, he channeled his thoughts and feelings into a story and named the book Stutter-fly. Stutter-fly follows the story of a butterfly named Jimmy, who goes on a journey to learn how to overcome his stutter. What he ends up learning is so much bigger: He learns to love himself for who he is.

When he finished his story, he had one last step before publishing it. He needed an illustrator to bring his words to life with beautiful imagery. Here’s where Stephen’s entrepreneurial spirit comes in handy. He pulled together his resources, whipped out his business brain and started selling water bottles and candy to pay for a professional illustrator. 

He set a savings goal of $2,000 in his Greenlight app and picked up weekly chores to earn an allowance on his Greenlight card. After reaching his goal and picking an illustrator, Stutter-fly was born. 

Just like Jimmy the Stutter-fly learned (you’ll have to read the whole story!), Stephen has learned an important lesson about being nice to others. He plans to publish a book series to inspire readers of all ages to appreciate our differences as part of our stories.

To put action behind his words, Stephen saves 10% of his earnings for a non-profit organization he’s planning to start for young Black authors aged 5 to 17. No matter how old you are or what you do, there’s always a chance to do good with your money. 

What’s next?

Writer’s block isn’t hitting Stephen anytime soon. He’s already brewing ideas for the next book in his series. That’s right — series. He’s got big plans, with a goal of $8,000 to help him live out his dreams and bring his words to the world. 

In honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day, we hope Stephen’s story can inspire you and your family. To learn about International Stuttering Awareness Day, read more on Stephen’s website or order his book, Stutter-fly, on Amazon.

5 ways to use your kids’ debit card to talk about holiday spending

As we come up on March 95th (er, autumn), it’s safe to say we could all use a little joy around here. The holidays are around the corner, which might mean gifts, homemade meals, decorations up the wazoo and of course… holiday spending. Grab your kids’ debit cards and open your Greenlight app for ways to budget for the season. 

Create a fall budgeting bucket list 

Illustration of fall leaves and rake

You’ve probably seen the fall bucket lists that are all over Pinterest right now. Your kids can make one too! With your budgeting bucket list, talk about saving, setting spending limits and picking up extra work to bump up the budget. Here’s a list for your kids to get started: 

  • Pick three outdoor chores to add to your rotation as the temperatures drop. Every two weeks of allowance (it’s automated!), put a % in your holiday gift funds.
  • Spend on one fun fall activity. Take a picture and pat yourself on the back because you budgeted for it. 
  • Set a new savings goal every month for the rest of the year. Have some fun with it! 
  • Have a practice negotiation exercise with a scarecrow or a pumpkin. Remember: negotiating your allowance impacts your budget! Make it fun with an autumn-themed negotiation subject. 

Let them spend

Probably not the advice you were expecting, right? Well, if you haven’t heard it enough from us… kids learn by doing. They learn what it means to spend money when they actually do it. 

Let’s face it — they’re going to spend money at some point. And if you want a nice gift over the holidays (wink, wink), it’s better to be there with them for their first big purchase so you can point out ways to save up for the next one. Go online shopping together and let them pay for a holiday item of their choice (like decorations for their room or a holiday gift) using their Greenlight card.

Look for sales together

Jack-o-lantern saying "Deal or no deal?"

You know what’s better than scoring a sale? Finding a sale with your child. It’s the parent jackpot because 1) You’re both saving money and 2) You’re laying the foundation for your kids to always look for sales. 

From early bird October deals to Black Friday, you have lots of opportunities to teach your kids the value of a good bargain. When Cyber Monday rolls around, take a moment to talk about online safety. And when we get to December (finally!), show your kids how to use their Greenlight app to create different buckets for their holiday spending. P.S., if it gets too out of hand, set spending limits in your companion app.

Make a gift list

One of the greatest joys of the holiday season is giving. Instill this habit in your kids by sitting down and drafting a gift list with them. From Uncle Jim’s chocolate-covered pretzels to gag gifts for the siblings, this exercise will get your kids ahead of the game on their shopping lists — with an estimated cost for each gift. 

Aside from holiday gifts, kids can also celebrate generosity by giving back to the community. This year, volunteering might be tough (unless you’re volunteering virtually), so a nice alternative way to give is by donating to charitable organizations.

 Remember what matters

It’s easy for shoppers of all ages to get caught up in the holiday spending chaos. With COVID-19, budgets may be tighter and celebrations may be different. Come back to what matters most: your family. 

While this may not be a “money talk,” it’s a great real-life talk. Let your kids ask their questions or express their opinions about this holiday season. We’re all doing the best we can, so if you need a friend, coupon expert or budgeting tool, you can always lean on Greenlight.

Spotlight Stories: William B.

Every kid has a dream car, but how many end up owning it? We know one Greenlight driver who worked hard, saved up and bought his dream car at the age of 16. 

Today’s Spotlight Story takes us on William B’s financial journey, from “Dad, can I have…?” to a part-time job that will eventually pay off his Mustang. If you’ve got a story about your kids doing big things with their cha-ching, reach out with a direct message on Instagram or Facebook, or email us at social@greenlightcard.com.

Meet William 

William, September Spotlight Story, driving the mustang he bought with his own money

William is a junior in high school who plays soccer, hangs out with friends and does normal high school things. But what most people don’t know about him is he’s a money managing machine. 

That’s because William made a big goal for himself: He wanted to buy a car. Before coming up with this goal, he didn’t have a ton of experience handling money on his own. When he needed to buy something, he’d ask his parents for some cash or he’d mow the lawn on a Saturday to earn a quick allowance. But that quickly changed when he set a savings goal for a sporty white 2016 Mustang in his Greenlight app

How William got started  

We’re going way back to William’s first concept of money: “Dad, can I buy that?” To help William learn more about money, his parents looked for something that could make budgeting fun and easy — and something that could do the work for them. They found Greenlight, got William a custom card and the rest is history. 

To start saving for his future car, he set a savings goal to reach $1,000. After getting a part-time job at the local Walmart as a personal shopper, he reached his goal pretty quickly. Plus, his dad promised to match him dollar-for-dollar to reward his hard work. (Psst, this really works. Dollar matching or setting Parent-Paid Interest encourages your kids to keep up the good work!)

Bold fact about William: As a personal shopper, William can pick 178 items per hour.

Being a personal shopper means being quick on your feet! For William, it means picking 178 items an hour and then hand-delivering them to customers who are waiting outside. This was particularly helpful for shoppers who wanted to be safe and distanced in the pandemic. 

Advice from September Spotlight Story, William: Don't let your goals out of sight.

William’s advice goes for all ages (parents included). His two cents: Set a goal, work hard for it and don’t let it out of sight. $1,000 may seem like a lot — especially for a student — but when you chip away at your goal and keep your eyes on the prize, it’s a lot more doable. 

What’s next? 

Now that the ‘stang is in his hands (er, driveway?), William is tackling his monthly car payment using his Greenlight card and hard-earned money skills. Next on his list of savings goals? He wants to blackout the rims of his sporty ride. Kudos, William!

Greenlight announces Series C fundraising to help millions more parents raise financially-smart kids

With more than 2 million parents and kids by our side, today we announced our Series C fundraise and a shiny new valuation.

We’re grateful for the families and investors who have helped us reach this point, and we’re beyond excited to continue to grow. Full press release is below.

Greenlight Raises $215 Million at a $1.2 Billion Valuation To Help Millions More Parents Raise Financially-Smart Kids

ATLANTA, (September 24, 2020) – Greenlight® Financial Technology, Inc. (“Greenlight”), the fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids, announced today a valuation above $1.2 billion after raising $215 million in Series C funding. The series was led by Canapi Ventures and TTV Capital with participation from new investors BOND, DST Global, Goodwater Capital and Fin VC along with Greenlight’s first institutional investor Relay Ventures. 

Since launching its debit card for kids in 2017, Greenlight has experienced explosive growth. The company now serves more than 2 million parents and kids, helping them manage their family finances and navigate the world of money together. To-date, Greenlight kids have collectively saved more than $50 million.

“Greenlight’s rapid growth is a testament to the value they bring to millions of parents and kids every day. My wife and I trust Greenlight to give us the modern tools to teach our children how to manage money,” said Gardiner Garrard, Founding Partner at TTV Capital. “TTV Capital is thrilled to provide continued investment to help the company empower more parents.”

Greenlight is the comprehensive, all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families. Its parent-managed debit card for kids with companion apps give parents the ability to pay allowance, manage chores and set flexible, store-level spend controls. Kids explore lessons in earning, saving, spending and giving with a debit card and app designed just for them. 

“Greenlight’s purpose-based mission of bringing financial literacy to families is massively impactful.” said Neil Underwood, partner and co-founder of Canapi Ventures, “We’re super excited to back this amazing leadership team who is introducing financial services to an entirely new demographic.”

“Greenlight’s smart debit card is transforming the way parents teach their kids about responsible money management and financial literacy,” said Noah Knauf, general partner at BOND. “Having achieved phenomenal growth year-over-year, this is a company on the fast-track to becoming a household name. We look forward to working alongside the Greenlight team to support their continued growth.”

The Series C funding will accelerate Greenlight’s mission, propelling the company to reach more families and provide them with new ways for kids to learn about the world of money. In the coming months, Greenlight families can look forward to a completely reimagined app and new investing tools made for kids.

“We’re honored to partner with both new and existing investors for our Series C round to continue inspiring future generations to be financially happy and healthy,” said Johnson Cook, President and Co-Founder of Greenlight. 

“Our vision is to help all families worldwide to be smart about personal finance, providing innovative ways for kids to learn, so that every child can reach their full potential. We look forward to continuing to grow with our families.” said Tim Sheehan, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight.

For more information on Greenlight, please visit greenlightcard.com, or follow Greenlight on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Greenlight:

Founded in 2014, Greenlight Financial Technology is an Atlanta-based fintech company that’s committed to empowering parents to raise financially-smart kids. Its groundbreaking family finance product, Greenlight®, is a debit card for kids that parents manage by app using flexible parental controls. Patent-pending technology enables parents to choose the exact stores where their children can spend, manage chores, set parent-paid interest rates on savings and more. Kids monitor spending, watch their savings grow and learn to make real world trade-off decisions.

The Greenlight Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. For more information, please visit: www.greenlightcard.com

5 Important Money Lessons for Kids of All Ages

The kids are back in classes, and the learning is off to a good start (right?). Between the math homework, pop quizzes and history lessons that just don’t stick, it’s easy to forget about some of the lifelong money lessons your kids have right in front of them at home. Not sure where to start? We’ll give you a headstart with five fun ones! 

Money lesson #1: You’ll have to make decisions with your money. 

This one’s easy for grownups because we make decisions all the time. But kids are still learning the ropes of decision-making. Start small. Explain why you choose to spend money on groceries instead of takeout. Or clue them in on why you chose to buy one car over another. Eventually, they’ll start making tradeoffs on their own. 

Show, don’t tell: Get your kids a Greenlight login and send them money for spending and saving. The next time they ask you to buy something at the store, tell them they have a choice to make in their Greenlight app! 

Money lesson #2: Money comes from hard work. 

The earlier kids can understand this, the better. Psst, we’ve got an idea. Set them up with chores and choose whether or not an allowance works for your family. Believe it or not, pulling out the vacuum or washing the car actually helps your kids become more responsible. Just ask Marty Rossman, who researched the impact of household chores at a young age. She found the “best predictor of young adults’ success” was their involvement in household chores at a young age. 

Make chores fun: Turn on some music and come up with a fun name for your kids’ chores in your Greenlight app.  

Money lesson #3: Compound growth helps you grow your money.

Ever heard of the marshmallow experiment? You know — one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later? Your kids can learn about compound growth in simple terms like this. If you save and invest at a young age (even if that means spending less in the short term), it’ll pay off in the long run. Big time.

Incentivize your kids: Pay your kids an interest rate on their savings. Setting Parent-Paid Interest lets you decide how much you want to give, from 0-100%. The average rate for Greenlight parents is 18%. Start here and raise it as they save more. Spoiler alert — they will. 

Money lesson #4: You are your own money managing boss. 

One day, your kids will be budgeting, saving for their dream car and making big decisions with their money… OR they can get started right now. To get them in the habit, encourage them to put money toward savings goals or try Greenlight’s Round Ups to send extra cents into savings. They’ll get the hang of it — and yes, they’ll get that dream car much sooner if they start young!

Let them take the reigns: When they’re managing their money, they might have a hiccup every now and then. That’s okay! They’re learning while they have you to coach them. Talk about those hiccups and learn from them together. 

Money lesson #5: Money doesn’t grow on trees (but really!)

Okay, let’s be real. How many times have you told your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees? It’s one thing to say it, but for them to learn it, they’ll need to see it in action. When they’re constantly borrowing money from you (especially cash), they don’t have a full grasp on spending and saving. To them, it’s just their parent’s bank account — which may seem endless. 

Get the ball rolling: Give them their own debit card (a la Greenlight) with money set aside for different expenses: restaurants, gas only, general spending, you name it! 

That’s a wrap! Now you know how to make chores fun, get a debit card for your kids and set an interest rate to incentivize saving habits. And hey, these aren’t just money lessons for kids —  you might even learn a thing or two about managing your money!

Can video games teach kids about money?

XBOX, PlayStation, Nintendo, Twitch. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard your kids talking the gamer talk along with their favorite games like Madden, Fortnite, Mario Kart and Minecraft. 75% of Americans have at least one gamer in the house, so we’re not surprised by the wave of Greenlight families sharing their gaming experiences with us.

Whether your kids prefer mobile gaming or they kick it old school with Nintendo, video games can quickly become a favorite pastime… and a recurring cost. On average, parents spent $433 on video games PER YEAR! We don’t see that number going down any time soon, so let’s turn it into a money lesson instead.

Knowledge is power 

With so many different consoles and video games on the market, teaching young gamers to do their research develops smart habits that will stick with them well into their adult years

Here are a few questions to get the conversation started: 

  • How much does each gaming console and individual game cost?
  • What are the differences between each video game platform and what makes them special? 
  • Which games interest them the most? Which platform is the right fit? 

One of our Greenlight moms, Natalie Y., says her three kids (ages 14, 16 and 18) make great decisions for their individual gaming interests.

“My kids each have different gaming preferences. One loves his Switch and Xbox. One loves his PS4 and Xbox. One loves her Wii U. They all love the 3DS. They’ve saved up for their machines, done their research and figured out which games are on which platforms. They get a set amount of money each week for jobs completed around the house — and they save up for the games they want.”

Read the fine print

Since video games often feature in-game purchases for accessories or level boosts, you have a good opportunity to teach your kids about the fine print. By linking a Greenlight card to these in-game add-ons, kids can see miscellaneous charges that often pop up.

“My kids have the cards attached to their XBOX, PC and phone accounts. It’s so much better than having my card attached and them accidentally buying stuff. Plus, it teaches them to be careful with things like recurring charges or hidden fees. They are much more careful about what they buy now,” shared another Greenlight mom, Alysson B. 

Level up with a gaming budget

Because the gaming industry is so fast-paced, new trends can keep prices steep. Use this as an opportunity to talk about a magical thing called budgeting. Tell your kids that without saving or budgeting, they might not be able to afford the latest game or console.

With Greenlight, parents can limit how much their kids spend on games, which keeps eager gamers from going overboard. Ohio mom Heather Renee Gilbert shared the secret to her game-loving son’s success.

“My son uses his Greenlight card for Xbox games. I created an Online Gaming greenlight for him where I put money specifically toward his gaming expenses. He earns money for his grades and his behavior. Having the greenlight specific for gaming is amazing because otherwise, he would blow through all the money I gave him.”

A little talking goes a long way

Raising financially-smart kids sometimes means getting crafty with teaching opportunities. The more relevant the topic, the more engaging the conversation can be. If your kids are into video games, why not start money talks around one of their favorite things?

Greenlight can help

Not sold just yet? Sign up for Greenlight and see for yourself!

Spotlight Stories: Henry H.

Welcome to the first of our Spotlight Story series, where we shine a light on Greenlight kids who are doing big things. Today we meet Henry, an eight-year-old kidpreneur with a sweet tooth and big dreams. If you’d like your kids to be featured on a Spotlight Story, please send us a direct message on Instagram or Facebook or email us at social@greenlightcard.com.

Meet Henry

Child with homemade cookies

Henry’s an 8-year-old who recently started his own cookie business. He always had a knack for business (he’s sold hot dogs, lemonade and hot chocolate!), and his most recent project is the sweetest one yet. 

He got the idea from a hand-me-down family recipe for cookies, and he had some extra quarantine time to start up the business. His parents set him up with a Greenlight card to help him manage his earnings and Henry’s Famous Cookie Company was born. 

How Henry started

Child making cookie batter

Henry and his mom have been making cookies together since he was two years old, using a cookie recipe borrowed from his grandma’s kitchen. Side note: She goes by Great Grandma Magic — how cool is that?! Earlier this spring, he had a lightbulb moment. These cookies are a hit with the family, so why not share them (and sell them!) with the world? 

He picked up the spatula, dusted off his bike and started hand-delivering the monster cookies to his neighbors. But he didn’t stop there. Henry now delivers his famous cookie dough all over Charlotte, N.C. — and his next step is a subscription model and nationwide shipping!

A day in the life of Henry

Henry’s two cents

Child posing with his homemade cookie dough

Feeling inspired? So are we! If you’re thinking about starting a business like Henry did, here’s his two cents: “Make more goals.” Whether you’re setting up savings goals in your Greenlight app or learning how to market your business, stick with it and keep aiming for bigger and better.

Images of Henry provided by LunahZon Photography www.lunahzon.com

5 money tips for parents with kids going back-to-school online

A year ago, back-to-school shopping was predictable: erasers, pencils, binders, you know the drill. This year, parents are doing the unimaginable. On top of back-to-school shopping for regular supplies, you’re searching for masks, desks, new WiFi packages and maybe these crazy new things called pandemic pods

Not sure what to do about it? Start with these 5 money tips for all you families going back-to-school online.

1. Address (but don’t stress!) the “what ifs” 

You and your kids might be playing the “what if” game right now, and a lot of your questions may be about money. Plan a day to hold a family town hall, and use this time to explain how virtual learning is affecting your finances. 

Answer your kids’ questions, ask them questions, and talk it out until you’re feeling ready to take on the new school year. You don’t need to pull up your master budgeting spreadsheet. Just show them how you’re cutting costs to afford new ones — or follow this helpful guide to make the conversation easier. 

2. Make savings goals as a family 

Young girl thinking

A recent Deloitte survey shows us a new spending category for back-to-school shopping this year: personal hygiene products and desks. You probably never thought you’d be buying masks and computer accessories for the new school year, did you? To make these new costs possible, saving will be important. 

Show your kids how you’re saving money. Then, set goals as a family! Maybe your goal is to limit spending on takeout or to put more of your paycheck in your emergency fund. Or maybe you’ll ask your kids to chip in for their school supplies — just have them set a savings goal in their Greenlight app. 

3. Divide and conquer (the house) 

Let’s be real — when you have a lot on your plate, one of the first things to take off your to-do list is household chores. You’re trying to work, teach, babysit, entertain and stay sane… and on top of that, you’re supposed to clean the house?!

Hand some chores over to your kids — we’ll get them all organized for you in your Greenlight app. Tell them they can earn more money if they double up on chores for the week (hello, negotiation skills!). Or explain to them that it’s part of their contribution to the house. 

This will save you time and give you a squeaky clean house. More importantly, it gives your kids a glimpse of the real world. They’ll have to choose how they want to manage their time, and they’ll get practice juggling different responsibilities. 

4. Team up with other families 

School supplies and calculator

It helps to know that you’re not going through this alone. Reach out to classmates’ parents, neighbors and family members for support and ideas about how to handle a semester of virtual learning. There are socially distanced ways to save money, time and hassle together — here are a few: 

  • Buy in bulk. Anything from school supplies to desk wipes can be bought in bulk so you and other families can save money. To keep your distance, you can quickly organize a bulk shopping drop-off. Smile and wave from afar!
  • Swap ideas. Some families are making private Facebook pages or group texts to chat about ways to save money and make virtual learning (and life!) easier. 
  • Join our Facebook group to connect with and learn from like-minded parents and Greenlight team members.
  • Start a group Pinterest board. Spread the knowledge with pictures, money-saving recipes and digital coupons. 

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

This goes for you AND your kids. We’re all experiencing challenges in different ways, and a lot of these challenges impact our money situations. We’re here to make saving easier, help you manage chores and set savings goals with your kids — but here are some additional resources that might be able to help. 

  • See if your family is eligible for benefits. There are lots of resources available on Benefits.gov.
  • Keep your kids busy, without extra work for you. We pulled together a list of resources that have worked for our Greenlight parents who are spending more time at home with their kids.
  • Access free books online. Wilbooks is a site with more than 2,000 free books online. They’re sorted by grade and language so you can quickly find books that are right for your kids. 
  • Use virtual afterschool programs. Mizzen by Mott is a free app that gives you lessons and fun activities to keep your students busy and engaged even when the school day is over. 

A hug from us to you

The best tip of all: take a deep breath when you need to. It’s hard to stay calm with questions and worries, but you’re not alone. We’re sending virtual hugs your way. Check back often for more tips on going back-to-school online — and if you haven’t already, download the Greenlight app and get started!

Million Bazillion: The podcast for kids to learn about money

There are tons of podcasts for kids, but how many of them help teach your family about money? Greenlight is proud to present a whole season of Million Bazillion, a new podcast for kids and their families to help dollars make more sense. 

Each episode brings the money talk to your home — with trivia, fun facts, spotlights and even a few fan-favorite guest appearances, like LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow.

Episode 6: Secrets for starting a business

Do you feel like your kids are always trying to find ways to make money? Maybe it’s through chores or maybe they’re negotiating an allowance for something else, like their good grades! Let’s face it — kids are entrepreneurs in the making. 

But entrepreneurship is so much more than making money. That’s what Episode 6 of Million Bazillion (the last of Season 1!) is all about — how to start a business, solve problems and bring your passions to life. As you listen, think about all the ways your kids can use these tips for other aspects of their lives… building healthier money habits, perhaps? 

Episode 5: Saving money is really hard to do

We’re always talking about saving, and we try to make it easy for your kids to save with Round Ups, savings goals and Parent-Paid Interest. But we know saving money is pretty hard to do — even for grownups! In episode 5 of Million Bazillion, we learn WHY it’s hard. We’ll also hear a success story about Will Bradley, a high schooler who got a part-time job, used his Greenlight app and saved up for his first car: a sporty mustang.

Episode 4: Ads are there for a reason – to sell you stuff

Parents and kids see (and hear!) ads all the time, but how do they make us want to buy things? This week’s episode of Million Bazillion answers questions all about advertising so your kids can learn how to spot an ad and decide if they’ll buy after seeing it. And if you need some extra help, open up the Greenlight app to set boundaries with flexible spend controls.

Episode 3: The price of pizza

It’s every kid’s favorite day: Pizza day. In this episode, Million Bazillion breaks down the idea of costs by looking at all the things that go into making a pizza. It’s more than gooey cheese and tangy red sauce — it’s a whole operation. To get kids thinking about costs, wants vs. needs and maybe even starting their own business, we recommend a cozy couch session with this episode and of course, a Greenlight card to put it all in action. 

If your kids are already dreaming up their future companies, they’ll hear about Henry H. from North Carolina, a Greenlight kid who launched his own cookie business.

Episode 2: Negotiation is a super important skill

Kids negotiate all the time. Just ask your kids how they ended up with a brownie for lunch instead of the PB&J you packed. Chances are, you’ve had your fair share of negotiations with your kids over chores, allowance, screen time or even what movie to watch.

This episode empowers you AND your kids to see negotiation as a way to solve problems together and develop an important skill for life. Once you finish listening, put it to the test. Open up your Greenlight app to talk about chores and allowance — you can treat it as salary negotiation practice!

Episode 1: Where did money come from?

In episode 1, we learn about bartering and gift economies to see how people used to pay for things before bills and coins. Greenlight is all about managing money digitally, but back in the day, things were really different. This episode takes us on a ride into history to hear how this thing called “money” all got started.  

You’ll hear about common forms of money, ancient forms of money and some not-so-common forms of money, like seashells and… turtles? Plus, Kristen Bell may or may not design her own coin and tell everyone about it (she does).

How to financially prepare your kids for back-to-school season

Parents aren’t the only ones pulling out their wallets for back-to-school season. According to a 2019 survey from the National Retail Federation, teens are spending an average of $36.71 of their own money and pre-teens an average of $26.40. 

This year, your back-to-school budgeting may be a little different (okay, a LOT), but one thing remains the same: A new school year means new costs. Which also means new opportunities for your kids to learn about money. Follow along for our tips on getting your kids ready for the upcoming school year!

Plan beyond the school supply list

School supply list with pencil and ruler

Back-to-school budgeting brings up a lot of conversation about school supplies for the first day, but what about the whole school year? When you sit down and talk to your kids about their school supply lists, you may want to chat about other expenses that might pop up throughout the year. Here are a few to consider:

  • Sports
  • Yearbooks
  • ACT/SAT study materials
  • Lunch money 
  • School pictures

Shifting over to a virtual learning environment? Some of the usual expenses may go away this year, but you should be ready for new ones. Think: Virtual classroom decorations, new desks and high-powered laptops.

Talk about back-to-school deals

Love a good BOGO deal? So do we. But your kids may not understand how much it matters to score a good deal — especially during a busy retail season like back-to-school season. 

As you probably know, smart shopping means looking for deals, shopping early and doing research before buying. To get your kids into these habits, try comparing prices online and showing them how to find discounts. Bonus: Help your kids make savings goals throughout the school year. They can do this with their Greenlight app

Separate wants from needs

Trade-off decision about spending extra on pizza delivery

Coming up with a back-to-school budget is a great time to talk about wants and needs. If your kids have a school supply list from their teacher, use it as a guide. If not, it doesn’t take too long to come up with one yourself — or use a quick start list of common items by grade

Go through your kids’ school supply lists one by one. Talk about each item and whether it’s a must-have or a nice-to-have. Then, decide how they (or you) would like to budget accordingly. Maybe your kids want to splurge on a set of trendy binders but they’re okay with buying cheaper folders and erasers. Or maybe they’d rather save for something else down the line, like a laptop or an iPad. And look at that… they’re already thinking about wants and needs! Piece of cake.

Always come back to learning

Your kids might be excited about the first day. They might be nervous. You might be stressing about setting up a virtual learning environment. Or maybe you’re just not ready to think about any of it yet!
 
Here’s what really matters: Your kids are learning. And we’re not just talking about school. Kids learn by doing chores, deciding how to spend their money and setting savings goals. Just pull up your Greenlight app and let the learning (and fun) begin.